OCCUPY CENTRAL HK – NIGHT 16: Full coverage of the day’s events
Good evening and welcome to our ongoing coverage of Hong Kong’s Occupy movement.
Chaotic scenes unfolded in Admiralty on Monday when a mob of masked men, who appeared to be working in tandem with taxi drivers and truck drivers, removed barricades in Queensway and Cotton Tree Drive as dozens of anti-Occupy protesters gathered in the area. Scuffles broke out when some of the masked men cut the plastic cable ties connecting barriers on Queensway and confronted Occupy protesters.
The clashes came just hours after police in Admiralty and Mong Kok launched an operation to remove barricades and open a number of occupied roads to traffic.
11.34pm Admiralty: A truck delivers new supplies of bamboo poles to Occupy protesters to help them reinforce roadblocks and barricades along Queensway.
11.24pm Mong Kok: A sudden conflict erupts on Nathan Road on the intersection of Mong Kok Road shortly before 11pm. Hundreds of protesters are confronting about a hundred uniformed and anti-triad officers gathered there. Some police officers are carrying riot shields.
11.10pm Admiralty: IT worker Kevin Lee and his four friends say they will stay on Queensway to act as a “human roadblock” if necessary while waiting for the concrete used to fortify the the layers of roadblocks behind them to dry. “Each night we occupy different spots. We will move to any location that need reinforcements most desperately,” said the 26-year-old. “The gangsters are out every time the government makes some strong comments,” said his friend Tom Chan, who works in the travel industry. He said he is determined not to let gangsters to have their chance to create chaos at Occupy protest areas after witnessing how vulnerable protesters were this afternoon.
10.55pm: In response to David Eldon’s recent comments on chief executive Leung Chun-ying accepting HK$50 million in a deal with Australian engineering firm UGL, HSBC says its former chairman “was commenting as a private individual” and the bank says his comments “do not in any way reflect the view of HSBC Group”.
In his blog on Thursday, Eldon said the revelations about Leung’s deal might lead to pressure from Beijing for Leung to step down. “President Xi Jinping has made very clear his abhorrence of corruption, and if there is the slightest unpleasant smell about this, what better way than to remove an unpopular official? “The departure will not have been the result of student pressure … and should see the temporary installation of an altogether more popular person in the shape of Carrie Lam,” he wrote.
10.47pm Admiralty: Protesters complete building new bamboo barricades across the highway at Queensway. “I just learned as I went along. There were some construction workers here to teach us how it should be done,” said self-employed IT worker Alec Lee, 45. “The police said this morning they were just retrieving government property when they cleared some of our barricades. Now they can’t use the same excuse because the bamboo barriers are private property.”
Protesters say that an unknown group of supporters transported dozens of bamboo poles, many metres long, for protesters to make new barriers from this afternoon. The two barricades now stand about 6 metres wide and 4 metres long, blocking both the east-bound and west-bound lanes of Queensway. A construction worker who happened to pass by Queensway where Occupy supporters were building the barricades says he is impressed by the protesters’ craftsmanship. “Even if a car rams into it, the barricades will still hold. But it would be another story if it is a lorry,” says the scaffolding worker.
10.34pm Admiralty: Protesters continue building bamboo barricades on both sides of the Queensway highway. The makeshift barricades are being strengthened by plastic ties and steel chains have been brought in to further reinforce the barricades. About 500 protesters are occupying Queensway, including some curious onlookers.
9.22pm Admiralty: More than 20 police officers are confronting protesters on Queensway where bamboo barricades have been set up by demonstrators.
9.11pm Mong Kok: Eighteen new tents appear on Nathan Road to allow Occupy protesters at the site to take some rest. It is not known who provided the tents. “Free to use. Please take turns. Keep them clean and show consideration for the next user,” reads a label stuck on one the tents.
8.52pm Admiralty: Several protesters are laying down cement foundations to fortify barricades made of host of materials, ranging from steel barriers, wooden pallets and even wheels from vehicles across Queensway outside Pacific Place.
8.40pm Causeway Bay: About 70 people joined the sit-in in Causeway Bay as protesters fortify barricades by weighing them down with cement and wrapping them in cellophane. A dozen police in uniforms skirt the area, as well as a few individuals that protesters identify as plain-clothed police officers. “People are worried that the police will come tonight and take the barriers away. They don’t know what manpower or force they might bring” says first aid volunteer Mr Cheung.
An argument between protesters and a man with a briefcase ends abruptly after he shouts “If you were my son, I would kick you.” He was led away from the scene by police.
8.29pm Admiralty: A group of about ten construction workers arrive holding placards with messages of support for the Occupy movement, saying that their union does not represent their views. The group receives a huge round of applause from the crowd. On Sunday, about 30 members of a construction union visited the demonstrations in Admiralty, demanding an end to protests.
7.56pm Admiralty: A group of about 20 Occupy protesters erect barricades made from bamboo poles in Queensway, after anti-Occupy demonstrators tried to remove their barricades this afternoon. A handful of police officers can be seen patrolling the area.
7.48pm: Chaotic scenes unfolded in Admiralty this afternoon when a mob of masked men, who appeared to be working in tandem with taxi drivers and truck drivers, removed barricades in Queensway and Cotton Tree Drive as dozens of anti-Occupy protesters gathered in the area.
7.38pm: Carrie Lam walks over to an apparent “Umbrella Revolution” supporter, promising a peaceful future for Hong Kong.
A man raises an umbrella during a speech made by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam at a Spanish National Day event.
7.27pm: The head of the Federation of Students Alex Chow Wing-hong questions whether police collaborated with a mob of masked men to remove barriers in Admiralty on Monday afternoon, just hours after police removed barricades from the protest site in Admiralty. “It is like a coincidence. I don’t know if there was any coordination but it’s normal to speculate whether there was collaboration,” Chow says.
As the Occupy movement enters its third week, questions have been raised on what action should be taken next. Chow says at this stage protesters are only able to reinforce existing barricades, depending on manpower and resources, after some barricades had been removed.
Chow says he doesn’t have any specific plans on how to advance the movement, as he is still observing whether the chief executive, or chief secretary, would offer Hongkongers some new proposals after their trip to Guangzhou. “Until now, the pair haven’t given a clear political message on what Beijing has instructed them to do to address the problem of governance in Hong Kong,” Chow says. “They also haven’t raised any concrete proposals on how to solve the crisis. Do they still want to govern Hong Kong?”
7.16pm Admiralty: Protesters intensify efforts to reinforce barricades along Queensway. Photo: K. Y. Cheng
6.49pm: During an ongoing visit to Russia, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang warns that Western countries are attempting to trigger a “colour revolution” in China by supporting the “opposition camp” in Hong Kong. Wang adds that China firmly opposes Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Wang is in Sochi with Premier Li Keqiang, who is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
6.41pm Admiralty: Protesters in Queensway are using anything and everything to form barricades, among them wooden boards, bamboo poles and metal bars. Now two layers of barricades have been set up on each side of Queensway.
6.34pm Mong Kok: The protest site in Mong Kok remains peaceful. The placard at the back reads “No more violence”. Photo: Nora Tam
6.22pm Admiralty: Protesters on Queensway by the Bank of China headquarters have brought in stacks of bamboo and are using the poles to reinforce barricades along Queensway.
5.37pm Admiralty: Protesters continue to head towards the main protest site in Admiralty as people leave work or finish their studies. A crowd of about 200 people gather under the footbridge adjoining the Legislative Council building as some protesters make speeches.
5.22pm Admiralty: The government’s decision not to reopen Civic Square comes as no surprise to protesters in Admiralty, with many arguing that the Occupy movement should escalate its actions in retatliation. “I expect nothing from the government,” said civil engineering student Simon Sin, 21. “We must take more action, otherwise people won’t listen to us,” Sin said.
Meko Chan, 24, a human resources manager, says the government’s decision was expected. “I think we should remain occupying the current areas, and occupy buildings of big companies, like in IFC, because what we are doing is not affecting the economy that much”.
Banker Nicola Chan, 26 says: “It’s obvious the government is not willing to negotiate.” She suggested protesters increase their civil disobedience actions “to expand the areas of occupation and organise new class boycotts.”